Sunday, September 8, 2013

Great Gran Fondo - Giro della Toscana.

Up very early this morning, and off to meet part of the team at the shop at 6:20.  There were 8 of us there, and we rode out to Galluzzo where we met the remainder of our group for a Raduno / Gran Fondo.  Around 1000 riders were registered, but it was not timed.  Three distances were available, and we had 11 doing the medium course and 10 doing the long course, around 150 kilometers.  I was in for the long course and had been feeling good when riding lately.  We started out through Tavernuzze to Ferrone, a very slight climb, where we climbed to Strada, a steeper but still mellow climb, then climbed to Chiochio and Spedaluze, which is a little steeper still.  Of course, our plans to stay together fell apart mostly, and I ended up with a group of 8 riding to Greve, then we really came apart on the climb to Panzano.

In Panzano, we had our first ritrovo, or refreshment / aid station.  We waited and the whole group was back together in 20 minutes or so.  A couple of the strongest guys doing the long course went ahead, and stayed at their own pace the whole day.  The exit from the aid station was different than I thought, and most were gone before I along with 6 others realized this.  We had a nice group to descend from Panzano to Lucarelli, then climb to Strada, where we had a controllo stop.  Here they stamp a little book / card you get when you register.  We were all back together after the controllo, and the people doing the long course went our own way / speed at this point.

We climbed to Castellina, then enjoyed a wonderful descent to Poggiobonsi.  A group of 6 of us stayed together for the entire descent, which was really fast and fun.  From Poggibonsi, we climbed on a new road for me through Sant Appiano, where there was another controllo / aid station.  The food at the aid stations was really quite good in quantity and quality, and I really ate when we were there, again waiting to re group before continuing.  I am in the fast group now, and actually climb faster than most, which is pretty nice for an old man.  The climb was quite steep in places getting to Sant Appiano, and there were signs at the base of climbs telling you the total climb, distance, average grade and maximum grade.  After the break, we continued climbing on a mostly up, but up and down road to hook into another road which descends to Certaldo.

Just before Certaldo, we turned off to climb to Fiano, which was definitely the hardest climb of the day.  It just kept on coming, and eventually we were on a ridge road between Montespertoli and Tavernelle.  Another controllo / aid stop in Fiano, then over to Tavernelle and up to the road through Romala to another food station just before San Pancrazio.  We continued along the ridge to the super steep descent through La Ripa then to Cerbia.  Chris, Fabio, and I waited at the aid station for Lorenzo and Alessandro, but eventually took off.  The remainder of our group had left earlier.  We passed most of the remainder of the group on the climb to Chiesa Nuova, then enjoyed the switchback descent back to the finish in Galluzzo.

Fun ride, but tiring.  There was a really great pasta / porchetta / formaggi feast in Galluzzo, then I finished the day riding the 7 kilometers home alone.  A really fun day, and I felt stronger as the day went on which is my intention.  Ride summary:  100.02 miles in 6:14 rolling time for an average speed of 16.1 mph with 6880 vertical feet climbed at an average temperature of 75.  Ciao.

Giro della Toscana - Gran Fondo by ridingwithcosimo at Garmin Connect - Details

It's a little dark, but the team has gathered and is 
waiting for the start of the event.

Part of the group in Panzano at a ristoro, waiting 
for the remainder of the group to arrive.

A couple shots of a beautiful ristoro and controllo (food
and check in point) in Sant Appiano, about mid way up
the second hardest climb of the day.

Most of the group waiting for a couple more on the climb
to Fiano.  Definitely the hardest climb of the day.

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